Opera singing competition to judge ‘by voice alone’

A new opera singing competition that makes use of blind auditions will have its first edition in 2019. By Voice Alone (BVA), which also has no age restriction, will have its first rounds in March.

For the first rounds, BVA will use blind auditions, “ensuring all applicants are judged by voice alone”. The final round will then take place on 20 May, with the winner will receiving GBP5,000 (€5,750), while smaller prizes of GBP500 are also on offer.

“We hope that BVA will be the first step towards making a significant and measurable change to the levels of diversity represented on the UK’s concert, oratorio and opera stages,” said mezzo soprano and BVA founder Melanie Lodge. “We want to see more BAME artists on stage, more disabled artists on stage, and more artists with a range of backgrounds and training.”

Confirmed jurors include David Gowland (Royal Opera House), Michelle Williams (English National Opera), Kathryn Joyce (Welsh National Opera), Sarah-Jane Davies (Scottish Opera) and Scott Cooper (The Grange Festival).

“What has been overwhelmingly exciting is the willingness of these companies to embrace the ethos behind BVA,” added Lodge. “ Almost all the major houses and summer festivals are keen to be involved, and even those who can’t be there in person at the competition have been incredibly responsive and supportive of our shared aim of widening access to the profession.”

The application process for BVA will open later this month. More information can be found on the competition’s website.